Experiments With Hope - Episode 41: Failure is Necessary
NOTE: This episode was recorded on February 11th, 2019 and moved from YouTube on January 23rd, 2021.
Failure is the greatest teacher…why do wise people say such things? Because they understand something ordinary people never learn…they understand the Universal Principle of Attrition. Jesus of Nazareth summarized this principle in this quote…
“Many are called, but few are chosen.”
Take any worthwhile goal, project, or venture, and I guarantee you’ll find ONE THING To be true about it. For every one person who persists in it, you’ll find, ten people, a hundred people, or even a thousand people who have started it, only to quit. This is called an “Attrition Rate.” And anything worth doing will always carry a high attrition rate. This is one of the lost secrets of success. This is one reason wise people believe that failure is the best teacher.
Failure is a natural process that weeds out excess to create room for growth. Plant 100 seeds in the ground and only a few will make it to harvest time. Watch an animal give birth to a litter of its young, and only a few from that litter will survive into adulthood. These are examples of the Principle of Attrition as it works in nature.
This might seem cruel to some. But those who try to defy the Principle of Attrition, either by avoiding failure themselves, or by sheltering others from the consequences of failure, are trying to violate one of the Universal Principles of Life. But, those who respect this law understand two seemingly paradoxical truths…
First, they never think of themselves as being one who will fail, or quit. Second, and more importantly, if they do fail, they learn from it, and they try again. Sometimes, failure teaches us that we were pursuing the wrong goal in the first place. Other times, failure teaches us how to succeed. Wise people know this, and that’s why they say that failure is the best teacher.
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